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Summary

  1. More news, sport, weather and travel updates on Friday

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Our live coverage across the day

Live updates from Merseyside and west Cheshire have finished for the day, but we'll be back tomorrow morning with more of the latest news, sport, travel and weather.

Weather: Bitterly cold with the risk of ice and snow showers

BBC Weather

Further sleet and snow showers are expected tonight, with possibly a spell of more widespread rain, sleet and snow, and gales possible in the Wirral Peninsular. 

Icy conditions are likely for many with a widespread and sharp frost and temperatures round freezing.

weather map
BBC

Early rain and snow will quickly clear to leave long sunny spells and only isolated wintry showers tomorrow.

It will be windy at first, with coastal gales and will feel bitterly cold.

Maximum temperature: 5C.

More from BBC Weather

Watch: Public thanked for 'amazing response' in naming police dog

Tim Wedgwood

BBC Local Live

Cheshire Police say they had an "amazing response" to their appeal for the public to name their new police dog.   

Meeting Axel, the new police dog

According to the force, thousands of people voted and yesterday they revealed the name would be Axel. 

Officers say the puppy, the first dog bred by the force, will go into full training now and learn over the next year how to be a police dog.  

Severe accident: M6 Cheshire northbound

BBC Travel

M6 Cheshire northbound severe accident, at J20 for M56.

M6 Cheshire - M6 lane blocked on entry slip road from M56 Eastbound northbound at J20, M56 (Lymm Interchange), because of an accident.

Check local traffic and travel reports for:

City honour for Liverpool legend Gerrard

Former Liverpool and England captain Steven Gerrard is to be awarded the Freedom of the City of Liverpool. 

Steven Gerrard
Getty Images

Gerrard has been put forward for his contribution to national and international football, and charity work by the Mayor of Liverpool. 

Receiving the city's highest civic honour "leaves me speechless", Gerrard said as the nominations were announced. 

Nominations are due to be formally agreed by councillors on 18 January and ceremonies take place later this year.

Severe disruption: M6 Cheshire southbound

BBC Travel

M6 Cheshire southbound severe disruption, before J21 for A57 affecting J22 for A49.

M6 Cheshire - One lane closed and slow traffic on M6 southbound before J21, A57 (Woolston), because of an overturned vehicle. Congestion to J22, A49 (Newton Le Willows).

Check local traffic and travel reports for:

Latest headlines in Merseyside and west Cheshire

  • Investigators have announced that 23 people and organisations could face prosecution over the Hillsborough disaster
  • A 53-year-old man's been arrested in Liverpool after police found a rifle and 50 rounds of ammunition
  • Scottish Power says engineers are working to restore electricity to around 100 homes in Tattenheall in Chester

Rare Philippine spotted deer born at Chester Zoo

An extremely rare Philippine spotted deer has been born at Chester Zoo. 

Rare Philippine spotted deer
Chester Zoo

The tiny male fawn, which arrived on Boxing Day, has been shown off for the first time by its proud parents.

Zookeepers have hailed the arrival as “a big boost for the species” with fewer than 2,500 of the animals – listed as endangered on Internal Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of threatened species - now estimated to remain in the wild. 

Rare Philippine spotted deer
Chester Zoo

Experts say a combination of factors including illegal hunting and large scale habitat loss have contributed to the demise of the species.  

Rugby League: Flower & Evans not sure of Wales spot

Dave Woods

BBC Rugby League correspondent

Wales coach John Kear has challenged Super League stars Ben Flower and Rhys Evans to "tear the house down" or miss out on a place at the 2017 World Cup.  

Ben Flower
Getty Images

Warrington three-quarter Evans and Wigan prop Flower withdrew from the Wales squad for qualifiers against Serbia and Italy in October.

And coach Kear says they are outsiders to make the trip to Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.

"This season, they'll have to tear the house down basically," said Kear.

Nine people arrested after dawn raids

Liverpool Echo

A cannabis farm was discovered and stolen motorbikes, top of the range watches and a drone seized during police raids across Merseyside this morning.  

cannabis
PA

Hillsborough mother welcomes CPS probe

The chair of the Hillsborough Families Support Group has welcomed the news that the Crown Prosecution Service is examining files to see if anyone should be charged over the Hillsborough disaster.

Margaret Aspinall
BBC

Margaret Aspinall, whose son James died in the 1989 tragedy, said: "If I go back 20-odd years where we had no one, it's good news to hear there's so many [who could face prosecution]."

Families of those who died in the Sheffield tragedy have campaigned for more than 25 years to have individuals or public bodies held to account.  

Files on 23 people and organisations involved have been passed to the CPS and it may take up to six months to consider all the evidence.

Latest headlines in Merseyside and west Cheshire

  • Investigators have announced that 23 people and organisations could face prosecution over the Hillsborough disaster
  • A 53-year-old man's been arrested in Liverpool by police who found a rifle and 50 rounds of ammunition
  • Scottish Power says engineers are working to restore electricity to around 100 homes in Tattenheall in Chester

Funeral for Beatles' first manager Allan Williams

Friends and family gathered to pay their respects to the man credited with discovering the Beatles and who became the band's first manager.  

Allan Williams
PA
Allan Williams was the original owner of Liverpool's Jacaranda Club

Allan Williams, who worked with the Beatles from 1960 to 1961, died in December aged 86.

He arranged the band's breakthrough residency in Hamburg, where their future development was shaped, but parted company with them a year later.

His funeral was held at Liverpool Parish Church earlier.

How cold is it really?

So we've been bracing ourselves for snow this week, but how do temperatures here compare to other places in the world?

Right now Liverpool is the same temperature as Madrid at 4C and Southport is as hot as Rome at 5C.

Compare the temperature where you are with more than 50 cities around the world... 

BBC News: How cold is it where you are?

Horse in snow
BBC

Arrest after rifle and ammunition found in Anfield

A 53-year-old man has been arrested and bailed after a rifle and ammunition were found at a house in Anfield.

Police
BBC

Police conducted a search warrant at an address in Breck Road yesterday morning where officers recovered "a significant amount" of ammunition and the rifle. 

They will now be submitted for forensic examination. 

Hillsborough suspect files passed to Crown Prosecution Service

Files on 23 people and organisations involved in the 1989 Hillsborough disaster have been passed to the Crown Prosecution Service. 

Hillsborough disaster
Hillsborough Inquests

An inquests jury concluded last April that the 96 victims of the FA Cup semi-final tragedy were unlawfully killed. 

The jury found match commander David Duckenfield responsible for manslaughter by gross negligence. 

Prosecutors will now decide whether to bring criminal charges against the unnamed 23.   

BreakingHillsborough criminal suspects identified

Investigators have announced that 23 people and organisations could face prosecution over the Hillsborough disaster. 

Files have now been passed to the Crown Prosecution service which will decide whether or not to press charges.

Weather: Sleet and snow showers

BBC Weather

Further sleet and snow showers this afternoon, particularly over the hills. 

Some places will stay dry, however, with a good deal of sunshine. 

A windy day, with gales around exposed coasts and hills. Feeling cold with a maximum temperature of 5C.

View more on twitter

More from BBC Weather

Beatles poster artist dies aged 83

The artist who created posters for The Beatles in Liverpool in the early 1960s has died aged 83.

Tony Booth
BBC

Mr Booth was hired by Beatles manager Brian Epstein and started off making "a few posters and show cards for his shops" before moving on to hand-painted concert posters.  

Tony Booth, from Moreton, Wirral, died on Wednesday after a battle with cancer.

Severe disruption: M6 Cheshire northbound

BBC Travel

M6 Cheshire northbound severe disruption, between J20 for A50 and J21 for A57.

M6 Cheshire - One lane closed on M6 northbound between J20, A50 (Lymm Interchange) and J21, A57 (Woolston), because of a broken down vehicle.

Check local traffic and travel reports for:

Latest headlines in Merseyside and west Cheshire

  • Sefton Council's cabinet has agreed to consult on plans which could see hundreds of council staff lose their jobs
  • The funeral for the man who discovered The Beatles, Allan Williams, is taking place in Liverpool today - he died in December aged 86
  • A six-month prison term handed to a motorist who killed an ex-international cyclist from St Helens in a crash "does not fit the crime," British Cycling has said

Liverpool Lime Street model takes 30 years to recreate

A model maker originally from Liverpool has spent 30 years recreating the city's Lime Street station as it would have looked in the 1940s.

The model takes up most of the extension of John Holden's house in Lytham - and he said it could get even bigger.

The station will go on display in Scotland in February.

Rail: Merseyrail service between Bidston and Birkenhead North suspended

BBC Travel

The Merseyrail service between service between Bidston and Birkenhead North in Wirral is suspended due to a track fault.

Latest from BBC Travel

Woman in hospital after being hit by car in Liverpool

A woman has been taken to hospital after being hit by a car on Walton Road in Liverpool this morning.

She is thought to have suffered a broken leg.

Police says the driver of the car stopped at the scene and is helping them with their inquiries.

Bootle and Birkenhead landlords profit most in UK, study finds

Bootle and Birkenhead profit more than anywhere else in the country from their tenants, a survey has found.

Bootle homes
Google

The study by Rightmove found that lower average house prices in those areas mean landlords can get particularly decent returns from rent.

St Helens also featured sixth on the list.

Latest headlines from Merseyside and west Cheshire

  • Four hundred jobs could go at Sefton Council, as the authority seeks to save £64m over the next three years
  • A woman has been taken to hospital after being hit by a car on Walton Road in north Liverpool this morning
  • Road safety campaigners say a six-month jail sentence given to a motorcyclist who killed a former international cyclist from St Helens through his careless driving is unduly lenient

Liverpool artist behind early Beatles posters dies

The artist behind a set of well-known Beatles posters, which advertised shows in Liverpool in the early 1960s, has died aged 83.

Tony Booth
BBC
The Beatles
BBC

Tony Booth, from Moreton in Wirral, made the signs for the Fab Four and other Merseybeat bands in the 1960s.

He died on Wednesday at Wirral's Arrowe Park hospital after a battle with cancer, his son Lee said.

In recent years, Mr Booth made replicas of the posters for fans and had written a book about them, which his son hopes will be "part of his legacy".

Police appeal after scrambler bike crash in Liverpool

Police are appealing for anyone who may have seen scrambler bikes in South Liverpool last night.

A rider was taken to hospital following a crash with a car on Ullet Road near the junction with Linnet Lane.

Ullet Road / Linnet Lane junction
Google

Sefton Council could cut 400 jobs as part of £64m savings

Claire Hamilton

Reporter, BBC Radio Mersesyide

Sefton Council could cut 400 jobs as the authority seeks to save £64m from its budget over the next three years.

Bootle Town Hall
Geograph

The council's cabinet will meet this morning to discuss a report which also suggests cutting subsidies to arts and leisure services. 

The report into Sefton Council's future contains a fundamental rethink of the way it provides services, from early years to culture and street cleaning. 

The theme seems to be the council doing less and communities doing more - for example getting friends groups to maintain parks.

If the options are agreed, the authority will reduce cleaning of council buildings to a minimum and look to share services with others in the city region. 

Several of these budget options would be subject to consultation if the council decided to go ahead. 

The council will sets its budget in March.

Funeral of Beatles' first manager Allan Williams to take place today

The funeral takes place today of  Allan Williams, the man credited with discovering The Beatles, who died in December aged 86

Allan Williams
PA

He parted company with the group in 1961 before they went on to worldwide fame and called his memoir "The Man Who Gave The Beatles Away". 

His funeral is taking place at Liverpool Parish Church in the city centre.

Football: Everton agree deal for Algerian Belfodil

BBC Sport

Everton are closing in on their third signing of the January transfer window after agreeing a £10.5m deal for Standard Liege's Algeria forward Ishak Belfodil.  

Ishak Belfodil
Getty Images

Director of football Steve Walsh identified Belfodil, 24, as a potential addition and Everton are now hopeful of taking their spending this month to around the £45m mark.

Everton's transfer activities have moved up a gear since Koeman demanded action after the FA Cup third-round exit to Leicester.

Travel: All lanes reopen on M6 after multi-vehicle crash in Cheshire

All lanes have now reopened on the M6 northbound in Cheshire at junction 20, police say, after this morning's multi-vehicle accident.

BBC Travel has the latest news.

View more on twitter

Severe disruption: M6 Cheshire northbound

BBC Travel

M6 Cheshire northbound severe disruption, between J19 for A556 and J20 for A50.

M6 Cheshire - One lane closed and slow traffic on M6 northbound between J19, A556 (Knutsford) and J20, A50 (Lymm Interchange), because of a broken down vehicle.

Check local traffic and travel reports for:

Cyclist killer's six-month sentence 'does not fit crime'

A six-month prison term handed to a motorist who killed an ex-international cyclist from St Helens in a crash "does not fit the crime," British Cycling has said.

David Hitchen
Lancashire Police

Motorcyclist Leighton Santos, 22, admitted causing David Hitchen's death through careless driving and was jailed at Preston Crown Court on Monday.

The maximum sentence is five years, but this can be reduced by a guilty plea.

Road safety charity Brake said there was a "need to see much tougher sentences when a driver has killed".